It’s not our fault - Resolute avoids taking responsibility for losing FSC certification for 8 million hectares of forest

Point fingers at everyone elseTalk about avoiding responsibility. This week it was announced that Canada’s largest logging Resolute Forest Products lost 3 FSC certificates covering an area of 8 million hectares. That’s not a small amount of land (it’s 127 times the city of Toronto). It’s not small percentage of the total area that Resolute has FSC-certified (it’s over 50%).  Pulp, paper and lumber from this area can no longer be labelled as FSC-certified, severely restricting their marketability. Rainforest Alliance, Resolute’s auditor stepped up and suspended the certificates after investigating the company’s operations and finding them lacking – they simply do not meet the strict FSC standard. The company’s operations are destroying woodland caribou habitat, old-growth areas are being degraded and the company hasn’t obtained consent from at least one First Nation community, the Cree, for their logging. Those are very clear violations of the FSC standard.

But rather than take a good hard look at its operations, the company is pointing the finger at pretty much everyone else – it’s the Quebec government’s fault (that doesn’t explain the 2.4 million hectares suspended in Ontario). It’s a dispute between First Nations (Resolute still didn't get their consent) It has nothing to do with our management of the forest (doesn't explain how other companies retain their certificates).

They circulated a letter to their customers, who I am sure were asking a lot of difficult questions. Here are some direct quotes from their spokesperson in media today:

"None of the issues raised in relation to these certificates involve on-the-ground practices or compliance with any laws or regulations," Resolute said. "They solely concern meeting very specific FSC requirements and differences in the interpretation of some of these requirements with the certifying body."  Montreal Gazette 

M. Blackburn affirme que la suspension des certificats résulte du blocage des négociations entre Québec et deux groupes autochtones ainsi que de retards et d’incohérences dans les plans de rétablissement du caribou forestier, l’un fédéral et l’autre provincial. “Ce sont deux éléments sur lesquels on n’a aucune incidence, sauf de souhaiter que ça se règle le plus rapidement possible”, dit-il. La Presse

Karl Blackburn précise que ce retrait de certification n'a rien à voir avec les pratiques forestières de l'entreprise. Elle est plutôt liée aux négociations territoriales avec les Cris et les Innus et au respect du plan de rétablissement du caribou forestier. Radio-Canada/CBC

How about stepping up like a progressive corporation and taking responsibility?